Educators praised for quick thinking in thwarting kidnap attempt
Educators on Sydney’s Lower North Shore have been praised for their adherence to policy and quick thinking which prevented the alleged kidnap of a child from a Lane Cove service last week.
A 43-year-old male has been charged by New South Wales police in relation to the incident, with police alleging the man entered the centre around 5:30 pm Monday 14 February 2022, shortly before the centre was due to close. At the time, the child at the centre of the incident was the last child in care.
The man entered the centre and spoke with staff, telling them he was the child’s father and that he wished to take the child. The staff immediately told the man that they believed he was not the father and that if he gave his name, they would review the list of people authorised to pick up the child.
The man gave his real name (which later allowed the police to track him down) and it was determined by the educators that he had no known connection with the child. The educators also alleged that when asked, the man could not provide the child’s name.
Based on the information available to them, the educators declined the man’s request to take the child. Police will allege that on being informed that he would not be able to take the child the man became “very insistent” and “began loudly arguing with staff while continuing to request staff hand over the child to him”.
It was at this time that the staff forced the man to leave and alerted police.
Following a detailed investigation, on Wednesday 16 February 2022 police attended an address on the Pacific Highway, Lane Cove North and where they placed the male under arrest. During the arrest, police seized items of clothing believed to be worn by the accused at the time the offence was committed.
A police spokesperson praised the actions of the childcare centre staff and said they handled a potentially dangerous situation “very professionally”.
After police made enquiries about the accused’s mental health and were satisfied that the accused understood the charges that were being laid against him, the man appeared before Hornsby Local Court on 16 February 2022 and his bail refusal was continued. He will remain in custody until he next appears before the court in April 2022.
Local coverage of this incident may be accessed here.
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